Current UK NSC recommendations > Postnatal depression

The UK NSC recommendation on Postnatal depression screening in pregnancy

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed April 2019
Next review due in 2022/23
Key downloads

Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Screening for postnatal depression in new mothers is not recommended. This is because:
  • there is no accurate screening test
  • it is not known if screening and treatment would improve health outcomes for mothers or babies
Health professionals should be aware of the possibility of postnatal depression in new mothers. Current guidance should be referred to when managing the condition.

More about Postnatal depression

As many as eight out of 10 women get what's known as the 'baby blues'. It normally begins within a few days of the birth. Women who become more unhappy or upset, or have symptoms that last over a week, they may have postnatal depression. Postnatal depression affects one in 10 new mothers.

 » Read more about postnatal depression on NHS UK

» See also the UK NSC policy on depression


Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
The British Psychological Society
Faculty of Public Health
• Insitute of Health Visiting
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Psychiatrists

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Evidence summary- antenatal and postnatal mental health (2010) (PDF document, 426KB, 11/12/19)

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